Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC Coupe: Affordable Young Classic with Appreciation Potential
Mercedes-Benz has been building iconic cars for more than a hundred years. As one looks back through Mercedes-Benz history, two door coupes always stand out as some of the most striking designs. Mercedes-Benz coupes from the 1930s are worth, in most cases, millions of dollars, much more than the sedans of the same period. Mercedes-Benz coupes from the 60s and 70s fetch more than double the money in collector car circles than 4 door sedan versions of the same model. Into the 80s the W126 chassis S class was the top of the Mercedes-Benz heap, the coupe versions of this model have long been thought of as one of the best, if not the best, design of the modern period.
If you're interested in a reasonably affordable Mercedes-Benz 'Young Classic' as prescribed by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, look no further than the W126 chassis coupe, specifically the most developed of the production run, the 560 SEC models built between 1985 and 1991. While they made almost 75,000 560 SELL sedans, then made fewer than 29,000 SEC coupes. While not 'rare' cars by true collector standards, for a car from the modern era, they're anything but common.
The Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Stuttgart declared the 560 SEC as a "Young Classic" in late 2010, which means the Classic Center will begin searching out the best examples, restoring them and selling them, with Mercedes-Benz Classic Center Warranty attached to interested collectors. This classification in itself affirms what Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts have suspected for years, that the 560 SEC will have a place at the 'classic table' in the Mercedes-Benz world.
Fully Depreciated, a Good Time to Buy
560 SEC models have reached the bottom of their depreciation curve. They won't get any cheaper than they are now, so it's high time to search out the remaining survivors and find one to call your own. Good examples are still out there if you know where to look. 560 SECs were the most expensive Mercedes-Benz models available during their production run, the people who bought them were people of means and generally took good care of them.
Good driver quality cars can be found between about $4,000 and $8,000. You can expect cars like these to hold their value well as cars that can be driven and enjoyed without too much worry. While the price of admission is cheap, these cars do require maintenance to keep them in good running order which can be costly if you've got a car that has not been maintained properly througout its life.
The best examples of the 560 SEC, the low mile, newest cars from the early 90s can fetch prices in the high teens, even low $20,000 range. Those are big numbers for these cars today, but you know what they say, "You can never pay too much, you can just buy too early".
I believe in owning and enjoying a car, not keeping it covered, constantly wiping it down with a diaper, constantly thinking of it as an investment. As time goes on the very best examples will have the most appreciation potential, but these will never be even $100,000 cars, not in a hundred years. Buy one because you genuinely like them, because you like the design, the drive, the feeling they gave you when you first saw one back in the 1980s.
The Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC coupes from the mid 1980s and early 1990s are solid cars, their design defines the 1980s era. They are a 'young classic' that can be acquired today for a fraction of their original price and are special enough to have some future appreciation potential. Chances are, if you buy a good one today, drive and enjoy it during your ownership, you won't lose any money when it comes time to sell. We all know, just breaking even in the old car game is a triumph. Be patient and buy the best car you can afford. It usually makes sense to pay a couple thousand dollars more for a better car than buy the 'fixer upper' thinking you will come out on top.
Mercedes-Benz Community Resources
There is a solid community of 560 SEC enthusiasts out there, before you buy read and learn about these cars and their intricacies. Some good resources are:
Benzworld.org - A large online Mercedes-Benz comminuty with a forum specific to W126 chassis cars from the 1980s and 1990s.
Mercedes-Benz Club of America - The national Mercedes-Benz club. There are local chapters almost everywhere, find yours and attend an event. Let people know you're interested and they'll give you more information than you ever wanted. Club members know where these cars are, who owns them, and who's looking to buy and sell, they're a nice group of folks too.